Royal Navy nuclear submarine collides with merchant vessel off Gibraltar

HMS Ambush, a nuclear-powered Astute-class submarine, collided with a merchant vessel off Gibraltar on July 20, the Royal Navy confirmed in a statement.

According to the Navy, the submarine suffered some external damage but there is “absolutely no damage” to her nuclear plant and no member of the ship’s company was injured in the incident.

At approximately 1330 local time, Ambush was submerged and conducting a training exercise when it, as the Navy said, glanced an unspecified merchant vessel off the coast of Gibraltar.

The Navy also said it was in contact with the merchant vessel and initial indications are that it has not sustained damage.

The submarine entered Gibraltar later in the evening for further checks and the Navy noted that there were no safety concerns associated with HMS AMBUSH being alongside.

An immediate investigation is underway.

Royal Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine HMS Ambush first arrived in Gibraltar on June 25 in the ‘Brexit’ aftermath.

While navy officials said that the nuclear-powered submarine’s visit to ‘The Rock’ was part of scheduled operational tasking, the timing of her arrival, shortly after the Spanish official’s interview, was a striking coincidence as Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said during an interview that Brexit opened greater possibilities for Spanish control of the British overseas territory.

Gibraltar voted 95.9 per cent in favor of staying in the EU and UK’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that protecting Gibraltar’s interests would be much harder now that the UK was outside the EU.

HMS Ambush, the second Royal Navy vessel to bear the name, is the second Astute-class submarine commissioned in March 2013. The submarine is armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles.